Our series on iconic hotels around the world continues with Singapore’s iconic hotel, Raffles that will see its grand re-opening in August.
Two things hit Singapore first-timers: the extraordinary first-worldliness of its futuristic metropolis, and cleanliness above reproach. There is clean, and then there is Singapore clean.
So clean, in fact, that littering is a punished offence. So, the notion that at the city’s oldest and, in many respects, grandest hotel, Raffles, littering peanut shells onto the burnished timber floors is not only not forbidden but encouraged, beggars belief.
In August 2019, this iconic landmark, after being shuttered for major renovations, again opens its grand doors and welcomes luxury vehicles into its much photographed porte-cochère.
White marble columns, gleaming solid-wood balustrades and grand staircases are returned to their magnificence.
The lobby’s grandfather clock, teak tables groaning under the weight of orchids and other floral fancies, along with other pieces that speak to Raffles’ over 100-year heritage as a destination, have all been carefully restored.
The Long Bar
The Long Bar, globally famous as the place that introduced the Singapore Sling cocktail, has already reopened.
Taking décor cues from Malayan plantations, expect timber cladding, shutters, ceiling fans and nuts, still in their caramel-coloured shells and served in traditional hessian bags.
While counter-intuitive, a Singapore Sling or two down the hatch, and you too will be littering the gleaming floors around your leather-seated bar stool with husks.
As a heritage hotel, everything about Raffles Singapore is famous. Its afternoon-tea and North Indian buffet in The Tiffin Room among them. As too is the lushly verdant plant-ensconced swimming pool, and its status as an all-suite hotel.
But with the renovation come new boasts: a three-Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic restaurant, who debuts her entry into Asia with aromatic complexity and powerful tastes that evoke emotions at La Dame de Pic.
Meanwhile, at the Bar & Billiard Room, Alain Ducasse, one of the world’s most famous chefs, brings Mediterranean grill and family-style food sharing to Singapore.
Jereme Leung, acclaimed for his success on MasterChef, and in many top Asian restaurants, returns home to Singapore with yì by Jereme Leung, delivering Cantonese classics and adaptations of China’s ancient delicacies in an art-focussed environment.
While the refurbishment has maintained all the old-world charm we love about Raffles, technological advancements and other amenities, including a new stand-alone spa, ready this icon for its next centenary as one of the world’s most cherished hotels.